Think you look better in your latest selfie than in real life? Then beware of "Snapchat dysmorphia," a newly dubbed term for people seeking plastic surgery to mimic their appearance in filtered selfies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Sometimes I have patients who say, 'I want every single spot gone, and I want it gone by this week or I want it gone tomorrow,' because that's what this filtered photograph gave them," dermatologist Neelam Vashi tells the Washington Post. "They check off one thing, and it's gone. That's not realistic. I can't do that." Researchers say the fixation may be a new version of body dysmorphic disorder (or BDD), a mental ailment that makes people obsess over any perceived flaw in their appearance.
A 2017 survey of plastic surgeons first spotted the trend, which is fueled by photo-filtering and editing technology once available only to celebrities. "This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients," according to an article in the JAMA medical journal co-written by Vashi. What's more, BDD is a serious mental disorder that can require cognitive behavioral therapy and medication—and lead to suicidal thoughts in 80% of sufferers, per a 2007 study. Just seeing an unfiltered image of oneself "can bring feelings of sadness" for some people, says Vashi, "and then if one really develops this disorder, that sadness clearly progresses to something that can be dangerous and alarming." (Read more mental disorder stories.)